The Landscape Guide

*Early Baroque Style 1600  

See Style Chart

Use: Early Baroque art is associated with the Counter-Reformation and a desire to re-establish the authority of the Catholic church and the power of the princes. Garden layout became a way of demonstrating the importance of Popes, Princes and Dukes. Since physical security now rested more on guns than city walls, living in rural areas became as safe, or unsafe, as living in towns. The villas of Frascati were built with their lines of sight fixed on the dome of St Peter’s in Rome. Pope Sixtus V used Baroque ideas in the planning of Rome, with vistas fixed on a set of obelisks. Important social gatherings took place in Baroque gardens.

Form: The Baroque style began with the projection of axes beyond the boundaries of enclosed renaissance gardens. In towns, the avenues focussed on churches and other features. Outside towns they pushed into the landscape, bringing mountains, lakes and forests into a composition with the garden. The results were dramatic. Lines of view, and then axes projected ever-outwards. An enthusiasm for the discoveries of geometry, optics and perspective influenced the style. The avenue is the most characteristic feature of baroque layouts. It had begun life as a shady walk on the edge of a medieval garden. Then: (1) Bramante gave avenues key role to a central axis (2) avenues became focused on garden features (3) avenues focused on features outside the garden (eg the dome of St Peters) (4) avenues began radiating in all directions to the greater glory of their owner.

Giardino di Boboli, Isola Bella, Jardin des Tuilleries, Jardin du Luxembourg, La Roche Courbon, Schloss Hellbrunn, Villa Albani, Villa Aldobrandini, Villa Falconieri, Villa Garzoni, Villa Mondragone, Villa Torlonia,